4 Risky Things Your Kids Should Never Do

Beware of the dangers, age limits and more

A parent straps a helmet on our smiling boy. San Diego Health Magazine

Beware of the dangers, age limits and more

Kids don’t always have the best judgment when it comes to balancing safety and fun. Though you can’t protect your children from everything, there are a few things that should be banned across the board for safety reasons, says Benjamin Shleifer, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Oceanside

“Summer doesn’t really end in September,” he says. “Even though kids are back in school, they still like adventures.” 

These are the four activities Dr. Shleifer says kids should avoid at all costs. The list isn’t comprehensive, he cautions, so when in doubt, look for recommendations from accredited agencies, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

1. Riding ATVs 

All-terrain vehicles have killed more than 3,000 children and sent nearly a million others to the emergency department, according to the AAP. The dire statistics prompted the AAP to issue a statement last year urging parents to keep children under 16 off ATVs because “youth do not have the physical, mental and cognitive maturity to operate ATVs safely.” 

“I’ve seen very bad accidents happen from kids riding ATVs that ended up sending them to the ICU,” says Dr. Shleifer. “ATVs should be off limits.” 

2. Playing around water unsupervised

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends keeping kids within arm’s length around water and not allowing yourself to get distracted. 

Water safety doesn't end in the summertime. It’s important year-round,” Dr. Shleifer says.

3. Riding in the front seat

The CDC recommends that kids age 12 and younger ride in the back seat of a vehicle and are properly secured with a seatbelt, car seat or booster seat, whichever is appropriate based on their age, height and weight. 

“Kids 12 and under should ride in the backseat,” says Dr. Shleifer. “A lot of parents forget this once their kids get bigger.” 

4. Riding an electric scooter

A recent study found that over the past decade, the number of pediatric patients taken to hospitals for e-scooter injuries rose from 1 in 20 to 1 in 8. The average age of the patient was 11. Not only are e-scooters potentially dangerous, but your child could also be facing legal ramifications if they’re caught riding. In the state of California, it’s illegal for anyone under age 16 to operate an e-scooter and the driver must at least have a learner’s permit. 

“Children under 16 should not operate or ride on a motorized e-scooter,” Dr. Shleifer says. 

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This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.

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